Book Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

 

THE BOOK

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Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible unionโ€”holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

REVIEW

I remember I bought this book in Fully Booked BGC when I was in Manila on its release date way back September of 2019. It has been sitting in my shelf for 6 months until I decided to pick it up last month.

Serpent & Dove has been receiving mixed reviews over Goodreads, but most of what I saw were good ones. I also have a friend who enjoyed this a lot, so I’m pretty determined to read it and check if the hype was real — and it was!

Recently, I’ve grown quite fond of making three-word reviews, and I’d be more than happy to describe this book in three words: Surprising, Balanced and Kick-Ass!

Surprising – This book was so surprising in so many levels! I went into it with the expectation that it will be an Enemies-to-Lovers story (yes, my favorite trope), but it was actually more than that! It’s a story of family, betrayal, truth and lies. I appreciated that it was a slow burn, but what I loved the most about this book was the hints Mahurin was dropping, making you root for your theories only to find out they’re wrong (or right). It will keep you wanting for more.

Balanced – This book doesn’t only focus on Reid and Lou’s story, but it also pays attention to the side characters. I love how both Coco and Ansel were given importance throughout the first book, and I can’t wait to see how they’ll portray bigger roles in the second book! And speaking of “balanced,” Serpent and Dove contained morally-grey characters. A book takes a more mature path when it’s not just good or evil. Seeing characters internally struggle with what is right or wrong makes the plot interesting.

Kick-Ass – I fell head over heels with Lou’s character! I live for kick-ass women in fantasy books and Lou definitely had what I’m looking for in her. I did not expect that her character will be bad-ass and so blunt, and that’s why I fell in love with her more!

To be honest, there were also moments that took the magic away. I did not like the fact that all theories were debunked shoved in my throat at the end of the book, but I understand that it was part of the plot building for a sequel. But I don’t know, it just feels like it was rushed at some point.

However, I would say that I enjoyed reading this. I don’t regret not picking it up sooner, because I believe that there’s always a right time for a book. The moment I started reading Serpent & Dove, that was the right time for me to enjoy it!

For a debut novel, Shelby Mahurin did an exceptional job! And if you think Serpent & Dove’s cover was stunning, check out Blood & Honey’s cover:

Blood&honeycover

RATING

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THE AUTHOR

Shelby Mahurin is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of Serpent & Dove and Blood & Honey. She grew up on a small farm in rural Indiana, where sticks became wands and cows became dragons. Her rampant imagination didn’t fade with age, so she continues to play make-believe every dayโ€”with words now instead of cows. When not writing, Shelby watches the Office and obsesses over her Instagram feed. She still lives near that childhood farm with her very tall husband, semi-feral children, two dogs, and one cat. Follow her on Instagram.

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